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Frances Ferguson

Glasstap Ltd

Training Design Manager

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Are we missing the obvious?


Have you ever found yourself asking a question & being floored by the answer? Have you sat there shaking your head & saying "blimey"? Or maybe your face lit up because no matter how unexpected, you know the response was brilliant?

It's a great feeling isn't it? Great answers really get you thinking. Great answers, like great questions, can completely change your outlook.

Such a moment happened to me when I was going through all the wonderful answers to my What Makes for Great Training survey.

An amazing 225 people replied, from a range of backgrounds & countries. But when asked to identify the 'top 5 attributes of a great training professional' a fascinating thing happened. How many of these 225 people picked Networking as a key attribute?

The answer is 3.

3 out of 225 people rated Networking (dictionary definition "the cultivation of productive relationships") as key to being a great training professional.

Why is this the case? Why do we not value this skill? Why when we know how key the actions of the learner & their manager are for the implementation of the training (quite simply we cannot do it without them) do we not value the ability to cultivate productive relationships?

Respondents included Training Participants & those who Commission Training; none of them selected Networking as a key attribute.

In fact, those who Commission Training went even further. When asked to pick the 1 attribute of a training professional with the least impact on the success of training a staggering 63% of them went for Networking.

Why is this the case? Why is the expectation there that Training Professionals do not need to build a network of people both inside & outside their organisations to help them to do their job?

As a manager in a large organisation, I was successful because of all the contacts I had to make it happen. You simply cannot make it on your own without that network & a manager who tried, would be quickly made aware of the issue.

Yet if the results of this survey are to be believed, all too often we do not ask the same of our training professionals. We do not expect, or even value, an ability to create a network of people to help us to deliver the changes to organisational behaviour that our jobs demand.

A bit like the famous conundrum about whether a tree falling in a forest makes a sound if there is no one there to hear it, trying to bring real behaviour change to an organisation & thinking it can all happen in the training room is destined to fail.

We all know the importance of the learner & their line manager, maybe now we need to work out how to alter our approach & bring them into the training cycle every step of the way.

Ideas anyone?

Author Profile Picture
Frances Ferguson

Training Design Manager

Read more from Frances Ferguson

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